+
upworthy
Pop Culture

Kevin Smith receives a flood of support after sharing how childhood trauma affected his identity

Fans are applauding his honesty and calling for destigmatization of mental health conversations.

kevin smith
People/Youtube

Let's normalize talking about our mental health.

For many of us, the impacts of childhood trauma linger on insidiously. Aspects of our adult identity become shaped by those terrible chapters in our early years without us even realizing it. And because this happens at such a young age, it can take years of soul searching, not to mention professional support, before a person can sift through those painful memories to recover a real sense of self.

Yes, it’s a taxing and scary process, with perhaps the most daunting aspect being the fact that you once again have to bring that trauma to light by talking about it. But as we have seen many times over, being open and honest about our struggles often results in the support, healing and transformation needed to improve our mental health. In other words—the rewards outweigh the discomfort.

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is a celebrity pretty well known for being candid about his personal challenges, especially when it comes to health and well-being. After suffering from a heart attack back in Feb 2018, the “Clerks” director has made his weight loss journey and the insights from it a major part of his presence online. You’d be hard pressed to find a fan that didn’t know about this part of his life.

However, in an exclusive with People, Kevin Smith revealed for the first time that the root cause of his previous weight struggles had been related to sexual abuse he experienced at 6 years old, when an older boy forced him to perform sexual acts with a young girl in the neighborhood.

As Smith told People, he always denied the gravity of the incident, telling himself that "we were just playing doctor in an alleyway." It wouldn’t be until the age of 52, after checking into Arizona's Sierra Tucson treatment center and dedicating a month to intensive therapy, that Smith would learn the event was indeed severe and left him with an untreated psychological wound.

It took suffering from a "complete break from reality" and being stuck in a “weird, dark place,” but Smith did finally get help. After talking with a therapist, he learned that the incident, along with being made fun of for his weight by a teacher in grade school, led him to create a "larger-than-life" public persona he calls "the other guy.”

"I felt disgusting, like I didn't matter. That's when 'the other guy' started to appear. I decided to be entertaining and make people love me before they noticed I was fat,” he told People.

As we all know from “Jay and Silent Bob” alone, this strategy has worked. Perhaps for Smith more than most, it would seem disastrous to throw away an alter-ego which has brought such great commercial success.

And yet, Smith has still decided to not only take steps towards finding his "authentic self," which include discontinuing smoking pot and incorporating a more relaxed work schedule, but to share his story with fans in an effort to spread the message of the importance of self-acceptance.

Smith posted a link to the People article on his own Twitter account, writing, “Having been a creature of the Internet for 28 years now, I fully expect to get trolled for this. But if it can help some folks, it’ll be worth it. So here goes…A few months back I went through a mental health crisis. This is some of the stuff I learned.”

Take a look at what folks had to say:

“The more we talk about our mental health, the less stigma there will be around it. It’s ok to not be ok. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Kevin!”

“Kev, I don't know you well, but we've met a few times over the years and I've always had a ton of respect for you. And I respect you even more for having the courage to face your demons publicly in a way that will surely help others do the same. Much love, brother.”

“Dude I related to this hard especially struggling with people commenting on my body when I was much heavier growing up and how I processed it. I minimized a lot of the comments going through life. Glad you talked about it Kevin.”

“Sending you all the love, Kev. You are worthy. In every way. You are helping people every day, but most importantly you're also taking time to help yourself and that's equally as important. I've been on a similar journey and I'm just happy to hear about your healing journey.”

“Thank you so much for this Kevin, being able to actually see the real authentic you is truly amazing, and I hope others get so much positive energy and healing from this, mental health is important and our happiness.”

“This was so beautiful. I can't thank you enough for sharing all your wisdom these last few years especially. I'm so happy you're finding yourself, cos that's who we love. You always shine past the other guy. Much love and godspeed in your continued growth.”

You certainly don’t have to be a popular celebrity to talk about your struggles. If anything, this is a beautiful example of what can happen when we normalize having these types of conversations. It might not look like an interview with People, but opening up to our loved ones, community or a therapist can still work wonders for recovering our sense of self. In fact, it might be the only way for us to truly do it.

You can watch Smith’s full video interview with People below:



A teacher's message has gone viral after he let his student sleep in class — for the kindest reason.

Teachers spend time preparing lesson plans and trying to engage students in learning. The least a kid can do is stay awake in class, right?

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Things new parents think they need but don't.

There's nothing like preparing for a new baby. The excitement and anticipation take hold and before you know what's happening, your baby registry is five pages long full of things you've probably never heard of. I've been there before, and now, four kids later, I can tell you with absolute certainty that there are tons of things you actually don't need. It's easy to get carried away when everything is so tiny and cute, especially 'cause marketing around baby stuff is bananas. The following offers some alternative items to the ones you'll likely only use a limited number of times before practicality takes over.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

12 books that people say are life-changing reads

Some books have the power to change how we see ourselves, the world, and each other.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Books are powerful.

As a participant in the Amazon Associates affiliate program, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.

Out of all human inventions, books might just be the greatest. That may be a bold statement in the face of computers, the internet and the international space station, but none of those things would be possible without books. The written recording of human knowledge has allowed our advancements in learning to be passed on through generations, not to mention the capturing of human creativity in the form of longform storytelling.

Books have the power to change our lives on a fundamental level, shift our thinking, influence our beliefs, put us in touch with our feelings and help us understand ourselves and one another better.

That's why we asked Upworthy's audience to share a book that changed their life. Thousands of responses later, we have a list of inspiring reads that rose to the top.

Keep ReadingShow less
Internet

Man breaks down how living in an all-inclusive resort is cheaper than his average apartment

"I just might find myself on a beach somewhere sucking down cocktails and WHAT OF IT."

Representative Image from Canva

Are resorts the new retirement homes?

Don’t know if you heard, but the cost of living is pretty high these days. Prices for groceries, restaurants, gas, and other necessary items just to, you know, live in the world, reaching an all time high is already making what used to be a decent wage barely enough to get by.

And let’s not forget the biggest financial whammy of all: rent prices. According to Zillow, the average rent price in the US was $1,958 ( recorded in January 2024). That a whopping 29.4% price jump since pre-pandemic times. And of course, that not even taking larger, more expensive cities into account.


It’s enough to make you wonder: “Is it actually cheaper to just live in an all-inclusive resort at this point?”
Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Terrified, emaciated dog comes to life as volunteer sits with him for human connection

He tries making himself so small in the kennel until he realizes he's safe.

Terrified dog transforms after human sits with him.

There's something about dogs that makes people just want to cuddle them. They have some of the sweetest faces with big curious eyes that make them almost look cartoonish at times. But not all dogs get humans that want to snuggle up with them on cold nights; some dogs are neglected or abandoned. That's where animal shelters come in, and they work diligently to take care of any medical needs and find these animals loving homes.

Volunteers are essential to animal shelters running effectively to fill in the gaps employees may not have time for. Rocky Kanaka has been volunteering to sit with dogs to provide comfort. Recently he uploaded a video of an extremely emaciated Vizsla mix that was doing his best to make himself as small as possible in the corner of the kennel.

Kanaka immediately wanted to help him adjust so he would feel comfortable enough to eat and eventually get adopted. The dog appeared scared of his new location and had actually rubbed his nose raw from anxiety, but everything changed when Kanaka came along.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

People kept telling me to watch 'Bluey.' I still was not prepared.

Some adults say it's healing their inner child, but there's something in the popular Australian kids' show for everyone.

"Bluey" is popular with all ages, despite being aimed at kids.

I have a confession to make. I'm 48 years old, my youngest child is in high school and I can't stop watching "Bluey."

For the uninitiated, "Bluey" is a kids' cartoon from Australia aimed at 5 to 7-year-olds. It's been nearly a decade since my household has seen that demographic, so when people kept telling me I should watch "Bluey," my reaction was basically, "Yeah, I've already done my kiddie show time, thankyouverymuch."

Then my almost-15-year-old started watching it just to see what the fuss was about. And as I started tuning in, I saw why people love it so much. I figured it was going to be a wholesome show with some good lessons for kids, and it is.

But it's also laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Keep ReadingShow less